Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here is what Anti-CTLA-4 blockage can do!!!! Melanoma..Jim Breitfeller


On The Cover/Top Stories

Targeting Melanoma

Robert Langreth 10.15.07, 12:00 AM ET

A new arsenal of therapies is aimed at a widespread and lethal skin cancer.

"Until recently researchers had little clue what molecular changes drive melanoma's rapid growth. But that has changed in a flurry of basic biology findings. "In terms of understanding what makes melanoma tick, in the past five years there has been an utter revolution," says Keith Flaherty, a physician at the University of Pennsylvania.

In 2002 gene researchers in the U.K. discovered that two-thirds of melanomas have a mutation in a growth-promoting gene inside skin cells called BRAF. The mutation causes the BRAF protein to become stuck in the "on" position, so it constantly sends a signal to the nucleus that it is time to proliferate. BRAF blockers are now in early-stage human trials at Novartis and separately at Roche, which works with partner Plexxikon. AstraZeneca is in midstage trials with 180 melanoma patients for a drug that hits a related target called mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase. "Every company I know of is interested in this," says Plexxikon Chief Executive Peter Hirth.

Therapies that trick the immune system into attacking melanoma are further along. Such immune system boosters have the potential to treat many types of cancer, but melanoma is one of the prime initial targets because it is one of the few cancers known to go into spontaneous remission on its own, indicating a possible immune response at work. The immune system activator interleukin-2 helps 15% of advanced melanoma cases and cures a few, but it produces such devastating side effects that patients must be hospitalized.

Pfizer's drug tremelimumab and Bristol-Myers Squibb's ipilimumab are antibodies to a protein called CTLA-4 (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen-4) that acts as an emergency brake to prevent killer T cells from attacking healthy tissue. The antibodies bind to the CTLA-4, found on a cell's surface, and shut off the brake. Killer T cells then attack the cancer cells. Both drugs are in final-stage trials on hundreds of melanoma patients.

Much credit for the concept goes to immunologist James Allison, now at Sloan-Kettering. In the mid-1990s he theorized that CTLA-4 might prevent the immune system from mounting an effective response against tumors. Others were skeptical. But Allison showed in 1996 that he could shrink tumors in mice by injecting them with antibodies to CTLA-4.

Both Pfizer and Medarex, a biotech firm in Princeton, N.J., subsequently produced human antibodies to CTLA-4 and began testing them in patients a few years later. In 2005 Bristol-Myers Squibb paid Medarex $50 million in cash plus up to $480 in payments contingent on the success of Medarex's antibody.

At a meeting of cancer specialists last June Bristol-Myers and Medarex reported their drug shrank tumors in 46, or 13%, of 356 melanoma patients. The Pfizer antibody shrank melanomas in 7 of 84 patients in a midstage trial. The success rates were modest, but cancer doctors say that some patients may have had delayed responses. In some people tumors started to regress months after they had been declared treatment failures, says Bristol-Myers Vice President Renzo Canetta.

UCLA's Ribas calls the response rates "very low" and cautions that the anti-CTLA-4 drugs are just a first step. But even if the drugs improve survival only minimally, they are likely to be approved, he says. Bristol-Myers and Medarex are expected to finish key trials this fall. RBC Capital Markets analyst Jason Kantor pegged the odds of disappointing results "relatively high" in a recent report and rated Medarex an underperform; if the response rate is under 10%, it would make near-term approval "iffy", he says. Side effects of the drugs can include inflammation of the colon, thyroid or pancreas, or other autoimmune problems.

One reason for the limited response rate may be that some patients' T cells do a poor job of recognizing melanoma. To improve this situation, researchers are combining new antimelanoma vaccines with anti-CTLA-4 drugs. The idea is that the vaccines will train T cells to spot cancer, while the antibody will make sure the T cells remain activated long enough to do their dirty work.

Sharon Belvin was one of the first to try such a combination therapy. In May 2004, just a week before her wedding, she had developed a melanoma metastasis in her left lung. Belvin was only 22. The tumor grew through her chest cavity underneath her collarbone. Various chemo drugs and interleukin-2 produced nerve damage and other nasty side effects and didn't solve the problem. By June 2005 she had tumors in both lungs and could barely breathe or walk. Then Wolchok put her in a trial testing ipilimumab with an experimental Medarex vaccine. After only four treatments the tumors started to melt away. They were gone by mid-2006. The Jamesville, N.C. resident has been off therapy for a year and is pregnant with her first child, a girl due Feb. 10 2008."

By the Numbers

59,940 annual cases of melanoma in the U.S.

8,110 annual deaths.

99% five-year survival rate, localized disease.

15% five-year survival rate, widespread disease.

Source: American Cancer Society

Take Care,

Jimmy B

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Greetings to One and All

This Blog is dedicated My Brother Kenny B. who passed away in the late 1970's with Cancer before the Internet.

It was he, who showed me How to live and give back. He was wise beyond his years.

Kenny B

Jimmy and Dee

Carepage: Jimmybreitfeller
Jimmy Breitfeller

My Profile as of 2009

My photo
Last July (2005)I was riding my bicycle to work at the Eastman Kodak Research Labs about 3 miles from home. I was wearing a knapsack to carry my things to and from the labs. I started noticing an ache on my back. So I decide to go to the dermatologist. To make the long story short, it was cancer. I knew from my research that I would be needing adjuvant therapy. So I started communicating with Sloan Kettering, University of Pittsburgh Cancer Center, and a couple of others including the Wilmot Cancer Center at Strong. I realized that by telling my story, I might help someone else out there in a similar situation. So to all who are linked by diagnosis or by relation to someone with melanoma, I wish you well. Stay positive, read as much as you can (information helps to eliminate the fear associated with the unknown), and live for today, as no one can predict what tomorrow may bring. Jimmy B. posted 12/15/08


The information contained within this Blog is not meant to replace the examination or advice of your Oncologist or Medical Team. The educational material that is covered here or Linked to, does not cover every detail of each disorder discussed.

Only your physician/Oncologist can make medical decisions and treatment plans that are appropriate for you. But, An Educated Consumer is a Smart consumer.

As Dr. Casey Culberson Said:

"The BEST melanoma patient is an ACTIVE PARTICIPANT in his or her treatment

Melanoma and the “Magic Bullet” (Monoclonal Antibodies)

Just to let you know I posted the first draft of the Melanoma and the “Magic Bullet” (Monoclonal Antibodies). on Melanoma Missionary In the Shared File Section. you can download it for 19.95 (Only kidding) it is Free for the taking.

It is 33 pages long and may help you in your quest for the Yellow Brick Broad. Just to let you know it is only the first draft. Revisions are sure to come. I wanted to get it to the people that need it the most, the Melanoma Patients.


So, where does Interluekin-2 (IL-2) come into play? According to Byung-Scok et al and recent reports, IL-2 is not needed for developmental CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells in the thymus but does play an important role in the maintenance and function in the peripheral.18 Peripheral is defines as secondary system outside the bone marrow and thymus. It entails the site of antigen, immune system interaction. IL-2 is required for the peripheral generation of Tregs based Abbas’s and colleagues research.19

IL-2 prevents the spontaneous apoptosis of the CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells. It has been reported that patients with multiple advance-stage tumors have elevated levels of Tregs within the tumor microenviroment.20 Interluekin-2 is the survival factor for CD4+ CD25+ Treg cells.21 If the addition of IL-2 is on or before the maximum propagation of the CD4+ T cells, the Tregs population can increase 5-fold in a 96 hour period based on certain growth mediums.

By controlling the addition of the endogenous IL-2, one has a knob to turn and can lead to the control of the expansion of the Tregs. When you combined this control with the anti-CTLA-4 blockage, you can shift the balance of the immune response.

Now here is the catch. The maintenance and function of the CD8+ T-cells require CD4+ cells which secrete IL-2. So we don’t want to deplete the CD4+ cells, we want to control the expansion of the Tregs which are a subset of the CD4+ cells. It has been postulated by some researchers that the Anti-CTLA-4 blockage also suppresses the Treg function in a different mechanism. By using IL-2 as the rate limiting factor, we can suppress the CD4+ CD25+ Treg cell expansion by controlling the concentration and timing of the Inerluekin-2 at the tumor microenvironment.

The Interluekin-2 plays another role in this Melanoma Maze. In a study by Janas et al, Il-2 increases the expressions of the perforin and granzyme A, B and C genes in the CD8+ T-cells. This increase expression causes the CD8+ T-cells to mature into Cytoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs). The exogenous IL-2 is required for the granzyme proteins. As stated previously, CTLs have cytoplasmic granules that contain the proteins perforin and granzymes. A dozen or more perforin molecules insert themselves into the plasma membrane of target cells forming a pore that enables granzymes to enter the cell. Once in the tumor cell, these enzymes are able to breakup (lyse) the cell and destroy it. This is the beginning of the end for the cancer cells. The tumors begin to shrink and the rest is history,

On the other hand, prolong therapy with Il-2 can result in causing apoptotic death of the tumor- specific CD8+ T-cells.23

Clearly in a clinical setting, timing, dose, and exposure to these drugs play a major roll in the immunotherapy, and can have dramatic effects on the outcome.

All it takes is that one magic bullet to start the immune reaction..

Melanoma And The Magic Bullet (Monoclonal Antibodies)

Public Service Announcement

A call for Melanoma Patients by Dr. Steven A Rosenberg

"We continue to see a high rate of clinical responses in our cell transfer immunotherapy treatments for patients with metastatic melanoma", Dr. Rosenberg said.

"We are actively seeking patients for these trials and any note of that on a patient-directed web site would be appreciated."

If you would like to apply for his trials, here is the website and information.

Dr. Rosenberg's information

Dr. Rosenberg's Clinical Trials

For the Warriors

The Melanoma Research Alliance has partnered with Bruce Springsteen, the E Street Band, and the Federici family to alleviate suffering and death from melanoma. Please view Bruce Springsteen’s public service announcement inspired by Danny Federici. Danny was the E Street Band’s organist and keyboard player. He died on April 17, 2008 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City after a three year battle with melanoma.

Source Fastcures blog

Join the Relay for Life!!!


Dear Family and Friends,

I’ve decided to take a stand and fight back against cancer by participating in the American Cancer Society Relay For Life® event right here in my community! Please support me in this important cause by making a secure, tax-deductible donation online using the link below.

To donate on line now, click here to visit my personal page.
Jimmy B AKA Melanoma_Missionary

Relay For Life® is a life-changing event that brings together more than 3.5 million people worldwide to:

CELEBRATE the lives of those who have battled cancer. The strength of survivors inspires others to continue to fight.

REMEMBER loved ones lost to the disease. At Relay, people who have walked alongside people battling cancer can grieve and find healing.

FIGHT BACK. We Relay because we have been touched by cancer and desperately want to put an end to the disease.

Whatever you can give will help - it all adds up! I greatly appreciate your support and will keep you posted on my progress.

Keep the Fire Burning!!!



Jimmy Breitfeller
Turn off Music before you "Click to Play"
Signs of Melanoma Carcinoma Skin Cancer

How Skin Cancer Develops by " : Dermatology"

Call for Patients with Unresectable Liver Metastases Due to Melanoma

Delcath Systems Granted Orphan-Drug Designations for Cutaneous and Ocular Melanoma

Delcath is actively enrolling patients in a Phase III clinical trial testing its proprietary drug delivery system, known as Percutaneous Hepatic Perfusion (“PHP”), with melphalan for the treatment of ocular and cutaneous melanoma metastatic to the liver.

This NCI-led trial is enrolling patients at leading cancer centers throughout the United States. Commenting on these orphan-drug designations, Richard L. Taney, President and CEO of Delcath, stated, “These favorable designations are important steps in our efforts to secure Delcath’s commercial position upon conclusion of our pivotal Phase III trial for metastatic melanoma. We remain steadfast in our commitment to become the leader in the regional treatment of liver cancers and we continue to enroll patients in this study, and advance our technology and the promise that it offers to patients with these deadly forms of melanoma and other cancers of the liver, all with limited treatment options.”

Orphan drug designation, when granted by the FDA’s Office of Orphan Products Development, allows for up to seven years of market exclusivity upon FDA approval, as well as clinical study incentives, study design assistance, waivers of certain FDA user fees, and potential tax credits.

Current Trial Centers

Phase I Study of Hepatic Arterial Melphalan Infusion and Hepatic Venous Hemofiltration Using
Percutaneously Placed Catheters in Patients With Unresectable Hepatic Malignancies

James F. Pingpank, Jr., MD, FACS
Associate Professor of Surgery
Division of Surgical Oncology
Suite 406, UPMC Cancer Pavillion
5150 Centre Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
412-692-2852 (Office)
412-692-2520 (Fax)

Blog Archive

Call For Melanoma Patients!!!!

Call For Melanoma Patients!!!!

Dr. Rosenberg Has a New Clinical Trial.

Our latest treatment has a 72% objective response rate with 36% complete responses.

We are currently recruiting patients for our latest trial.

Is there some way to post this “Call for Patients” on the web site?

Steve Rosenberg

Dr. Rosenberg's Clinical Trials

(For a copy of the research paper.. see My Shared files)

The news headlines shown above for Melanoma / Skin Cancer are provided courtesy of Medical News Today.